Not My Daughter: A Novel by Barbara Delinsky
Published by Doubleday
Published on: January 5, 2010
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Women
Source: Personal Copy
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About the Book
When Susan Tate's seventeen-year-old daughter, Lily, announces she is pregnant, Susan is stunned. A single mother, she has struggled to do everything right. She sees the pregnancy as an unimaginable tragedy for both Lily and herself.
Then comes word of two more pregnancies among high school juniors who happen to be Lily's best friends-and the town turns to talk of a pact. As fingers start pointing, the most ardent criticism is directed at Susan. As principal of the high school, she has always been held up as a role model of hard work and core values. Now her detractors accuse her of being a lax mother, perhaps not worthy of the job of shepherding impressionable students. As Susan struggles with the implications of her daughter's pregnancy, her job, financial independence, and long-fought-for dreams are all at risk.
The emotional ties between mothers and daughters are stretched to breaking in this emotionally wrenching story of love and forgiveness. Once again, Barbara Delinsky has given us a powerful novel, one that asks a central question: What does it take to be a good mother?
This had to be one of the most unrealistic books I have read in a long time. The characters weren’t at all believable and I had a hard time just finishing the book it was so absurd. The idea that girls would get pregnant for the hell of it and the parent just sit idly by and pretty much let them run roughshod over them is insane to me. Not to mention the whole getting pregnant as part of a pact.
This is one book where I feel that the author is very out of touch with today’s teenagers, their mentality, or their reasons for doing anything. There are very few teenagers out there who would say that I am going to get pregnant for the sake of getting pregnant. You may find one of them, but to find a group of them operating under that mentality is just insane. Not to mention, it says far more about the parents and their parenting skills if their children are ‘convinced’ to do something like that for the sake of the pact.
There is also an overwhelming lack of personal responsibility and maturity shown by the teens in this book. That they thought that they were going to do this, in a town that has such puritanical views, and no one would be upset just screams that they are out of touch with the reality of their situation. On top of that, we have a bunch of parents, who never express any real anger at the situation. The express disappointment in the girls, but no consequences are implied (apart from the obvious one of being pregnant). It’s like there are no rules, and no consequences for breaking said rules. I don’t know, maybe I would be happier if someone had yelled, and told the girls how they have ruined their lives. Of course, this does not happen.
Then you have the whole aspect of the town wanting to blame the entire thing on the mother of one of the girls, because she is the school principal who opened a clinic in the school to prevent this very thing from happening. Did I also forget to mention that she had her daughter at 17 as well? It is surely a case of history repeating itself, at least in the eyes of some of the school board, but in reality, this isn’t the case. She never intended to become pregnant when she was 17 (like so many other teen moms), was disowned by her parents and struggled to do it all pretty much on her own. She has demonstrated to her daughter that being a single parent is not easy, and that there are struggles to overcome and sacrifices to make. What she forgot to do was to actually be the parent and set some ground rules and give her daughter a dose of reality. I find her reaction the hardest to stomach, as someone who has been where her daughter is and knows how hard it is. For that reason, she should have been the most upset and disappointed that all her sacrifices were in vain (and that her daughter appears to be the most out of touch with reality).
All in all, there was nothing about this book that I would recommend to someone else. Scratch that! I would recommend it as a manual of what no to do in case your 16 year old daughter comes home and tells you she is pregnant and expects you to be happy about it.